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TelecomsTalk | October 4, 2023

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UTEL Completes Full Retrofit to PAU City FTTH Network


Network retrofitted to help connect more than 55,000 customers at 140 FTTH sites

UTEL, Europe’s leading independent research and development centre for telecommunications systems, has completed the design, manufacture and delivery of equipment to retrofit France’s PAU City FTTH Network (14 districts).

More than 55,000 customers and 140 sites are involved in the upgrade that will see the delivery of fibre to the home (FTTH) across the city. The existing network in PAU was a point-to-point design which was initially deployed in 2003.

The upgraded PAU network is the first 100% optical fibre network in France and is being developed by concession owner Axione, under an agreement spanning 15 years. It is the only fibreoptic hybrid point to point and GPON network activated in France on this scale. Locally SPTHD (Société paloise pour le très haut debit) company has been created for the deployment, operation and maintenance of the FTTH network.

“We were very pleased with the cost effective design UTEL developed allowing us to retrofit the existing network with a full upgrade to meet all of our requirements. The time-frames in which they were able to complete full delivery were also very impressive,” said Olivier Briche, Network deployment manager at Axione.

The new equipment, designed by UTEL and its Chinese partner Sunsea, called MOF96PS, is now being installed underneath each splice tray at 150 outdoor or indoor cabinet locations. The design means existing patch cords will be connected to the back of the patch panel utilising infrastructure already in place. Then the MOF96PS will enable any customer to connect to any internet service provider whatever the type of network topology, Point to Point or GPON.

“Other bidders for this project wanted to replace the entire infrastructure at much greater cost; but we were able to look at the existing network and design an adaption. This enabled a retrofit at one tenth the cost of full replacement,” said Jean-Raoul Boyer, UTEL France Director.

“Commercial off the shelf products are often not sufficient which is why we pride ourselves on being able to engineer for any situation. For this project we were briefed by Axione on exactly what they wanted and were able to deliver a prototype within 10 days and the full solution within months. That includes design, manufacture and delivery,” added Boyer.

Projects such as this are becoming more common in France as the regulator ARCEP has employed a strict policy to ensure only one FTTH network is deployed in less dense areas (Zone 2) of the country, such as PAU.